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Asia travel

Five great places to go surfing within a few hours of Hong Kong

From Shenzhen and Hainan to The Philippines and South Korea, where to go, and when, for the biggest waves and the smallest crowds

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 6:16am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 May, 2016, 1:00pm

While Tai Long Wan off Sai Kung,Big Wave Bay on Hong Kong Island and Cheung Sha on Lantau are popular surf spots, many Hong Kong surfers are jumping on planes and trains to chase waves. Here they share some of their favourite destinations.

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Hainan Island

Sandy beaches and a warm climate have earned Hainan Island the title of “Hawaii of China”. Multiple swells from northeastern and southern currents make Riyue Bay the site for many surfing events. Avoid peak seasons as it’s becoming very popular, says Hong Kong-based surfer Kenny Howe. More at

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South Korea

The sport is becoming a big thing in South Korea, Hong Kong surfer Rex Lau says. “All the young, lifestyle-oriented people are talking about surfing. There’s not a lot of surf so it’s better for long boarding. Spots are Yang Yang near Seoul and Busan and Jeju Island.”

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Head to Taitung for big and clean A frames and long barrels all year round. surfingtaiwan .com has a great surf guide business – owner Randy Chang is one of the best surfers in Taiwan and knows all the secret spots in Taitung. Kenting in the southis also popular with surfers.



Xichong beach across the border in Shenzhen is popular with Hong Kong surfers but it’s a bit hit and miss. “And don’t go on a weekend – the beaches get pretty crowded,” says Howe.

The Philippines

Siargao – a teardrop-shaped island in the Philippine Sea, 800km southeast of Manila – is a top surf spot. While getting there can be difficult, “it’s totally worth it once you’re there,” says Joe Chan.

You can take a direct flight from Hong Kong to Cebu or Manila - Cebu is a better option - and then get a ferry to Siargao. The best time to go is October and November, Chan says. A popular surfing wave on Siargao, with a reputation for thick, hollow tubes, is Cloud 9.